ANAHEIM — It’s been a rough rookie season for 21-year-old lefty José Suarez, but the Angels are hopeful he’ll learn from it, as he’s still considered a top prospect.
Suarez allowed six runs over three innings in an 8-0 loss to the Indians on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium, dropping
ANAHEIM — It’s been a rough rookie season for 21-year-old lefty
Suarez allowed six runs over three innings in an 8-0 loss to the Indians on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium, dropping him to 2-6 with a 6.94 ERA in 16 outings. It was his worst start of the season and came on the heels of his best, holding the A’s to two runs over 5 1/3 innings on Thursday.
“You can’t lose sight of the fact how old he is,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “So there is a lot of development to be had. Hopefully, this experience, while not what he wanted at the Major League level, helps him in the future and makes him a better pitcher.”
Ausmus said he also understands the argument that Suarez’s struggles in his first year could hurt his confidence, but he doesn’t believe it’ll be the case because of Suarez’s makeup. Ideally, the Angels can acquire enough starting pitching this offseason that Suarez take more time develop at Triple-A next year.
“Truthfully, if you’re going to be a Major League player, you need to be resilient and learn how to bounce back,” Ausmus said. “His attitude when he comes to the ballpark and does his work, he always seems to be in a good mood. He’s clearly not happy with the performance. But we try to stress to him if he keeps trying to get better and keeps working on the things we’re telling him to work on, we’ll see where it goes. We still have a lot of confidence in him.”
Suarez, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the club’s No. 5 prospect before the season, had trouble with his control on Tuesday, hitting three batters, including Yasiel Puig twice. He hit Puig with an 0-1 fastball to lead off the second and Jordan Luplow followed with a two-run homer on an 0-2 changeup. It was the 20th homer allowed in 71 1/3 innings this season by Suarez, who has surrendered at least one long ball in all but two outings.
“My command wasn’t really there,” Suarez said through an interpreter. “I kept putting pressure on myself to try to find it as fast as I could. But that pressure kept building throughout the game.”
It fell apart for Suarez in the third, when he hit Carlos Santana with an 0-1 curveball to put two runners on with two outs. Suarez got ahead of Puig, 1-2, but then plunked him with a fastball to load the bases. Puig took offense to being hit a second time, jawing with Suarez on his way to first base.
“He thought it might’ve been intentional, but I told him with two strikes I was just trying to go in,” Suarez said. “There was nothing behind it.”
After Suarez walked Luplow on a 3-2 fastball up and away to bring home a run, Franmil Reyes followed with a three-run double to left on a first-pitch changeup. It was yet another two-out rally allowed by Suarez, as he’s allowed 28 runs with two outs this year, compared to 11 with nobody out and 15 with one out.
Unlike Patrick Sandoval, who will be on a limited pitch count the rest of the way, Suarez is expected to have no restrictions down the stretch. Suarez threw 2,084 pitches in the Minors last year and is up to 1,813 between Triple-A and the Majors this season after throwing 60 on Tuesday. The Angels monitor the number of pitches thrown by their young starters instead of inning totals.
“I’m definitely confident I can pitch at this level,” Suarez said. “It’s just a game of adjustments. But I believe I’m ready to be here.”